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L’Occitane Sued For $746K In Back Rent At Upper West Side Store

L'Occitane at The Vanbarton Group's 235 West 75th Street on the Upper West Side.

Another retail landlord is suing a national tenant, alleging it owes hundreds of thousands of dollars in back rent. 

The Vanbarton Group filed a lawsuit against beauty product retailer L’Occitane En Provence Monday, claiming it failed to pay $746K in rent, utilities and taxes at its 235 West 75th St. location on the Upper West Side. The landlord is seeking the payment plus interest and attorney fees. 

The lawsuit alleges L’Occitane did not pay its $62,263 monthly rent between April and December as well as water payments and property taxes of over $24K, according to the lawsuit. In late November, Vanbarton issued a notice of default to L’Occitane and demanded the company pay the $516K it then owed by Dec. 7, it claims in the suit filed Monday in New York State Supreme Court. 

“Although Tenant did not dispute the amount owed, Tenant failed to cure its default under the Lease and failed to pay the amount,” the lawsuit states. 

Vanbarton claims L’Occitane owes an additional $28K in interest. 

Rosenberg & Estis attorneys Brett Theis and Moshe Nachum, who filed the suit on behalf of the landlord, declined to comment further. L’Occitane didn't immediately respond to Bisnow’s request for comment. 

Vanbarton paid Madison Capital and PGIM Capital $104M for the 31K SF retail condominium in the building in 2016, taking out a $67.5M loan from Mesa West Capital to do so.

L’Occitane signed the lease in 2012, according to the lawsuit, replacing The Body Shop at the building. It is unclear how much space L'Occitane occupies at the building, which has an alternative address of 2139 Broadway. Lululemon Athletic also has space in the building, while Barney New York closed its 10K SF store there in 2018.

This is the latest in a string of landlord-tenant disputes since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. JEMB Realty sued H&M in June for allegedly failing to pay $4M in rent at its 65K SF Herald Square location, and Vornado Realty Trust took the U.S. Polo Association to court for allegedly failing to pay $1.1M in rent at its Times Square store. 

Retailers have also been suing their landlords to try and get out of their rent payments or end their leases. Several filed claims that the nature of their business was forced to change so much amid the pandemic that the terms of the lease are invalid. Almost all of the disputes are still in court as judges work through pandemic-related backlogs.